Lionel Messi snubbed coronavirus testing at Barcelona on Sunday amid talks he is set to depart the Catalan giants after almost 20 years.
Barcelona stars including Luis Suarez – who has been told by boss Ronald Koeman to leave the club – arrived for Covid-19 testing on Sunday morning ahead of the new season.
Messi’s decision not to turn up, according to Spanish newspaper Marca, means he will not be available for pre-season training at the Nou Camp.
The Argentine believes he is now a free agent after handing in a transfer request last week But Barcelona insist he has one year left on his deal as he didn’t notify them of his decision soon enough.
A £630m transfer fee release clause was in place but this is no longer expected to be able to stop Messi joining City for a low fee.
Originally, chiefs at the Catalan club thought Messi wanted to oust unpopular president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
He had offered to resign to get Messi to stay. But it seems clear now that the Argentine wants to move to England for the final part of his career.
Messi could also then switch to play one last season in America before calling time on what has been a stunning career.
But he still believes he can win more Champions League crowns. And the forward believes he can do that with Guardiola at City.
The pair enjoyed a fantastic relationship when Guardiola was boss of Barcelona.